As the end of the calendar year approaches, some people’s minds turn to wishes. For young children those wishes tend to be for heavily advertised material goods manufactured in China for sale by major corporations. For some of the older crowd the wishes are more commonly for how they would like the world to be a different place in the new year. One wish that I have is for every junior/middle and high school to have a science lab like the one described in this excellent Scientific American article.
Very rarely have the students who I have tutored in physics or chemistry spoken with any enthusiasm about labs they have done in school. This saddens me because I have always been much more inclined toward experimentation than toward theoretical work, but I cannot blame them. Most traditional science experiments in schools are too short, heavily scripted, and completely uninspiring.
The FabLabs described in the article offer a much more creative, engaging alternative. I strongly recommend reading about them.